Last Updated: 17th Jan 2019
There are different types of credit cards in travel space and here we’re looking at only Airline Miles related co-branded credit cards that are linked to Airline Loyalty programs.
Currently there are only three Airlines in India that are linked to Indian Credit Cards with good Airmile redemption options. Indigo may join in late 2019 but that’s too early to comment.
Here are the Airlines and their Loyalty program names along with approx. value of each Mile/Point.
- Jet Airways – JetPrivilege ( 1 JP Mile = 1 INR )
- Air India – Flying Returns ( 1 AI Mile = 0.50 INR )
- Air Vistara – Club Vistara ( 1 CV Point = 0.75 INR )
Note: The value of the Mile/Point totally depends upon your ability to redeem to maximum value. Above mentioned numbers works for me as of now. Now let’s see some of India’s best Airline Credit cards and their approx. reward rates.
Best Airline Miles Co-branded Credit Cards
1. Axis Vistara Infinite
The newest airline in India has one of the best rewarding credit card in the Industry. Apart from the welcome voucher, this card gives upto 3 Business Class vouchers based on your spends and the reward rate is as unbelievable as 15%.
It is also by far the easiest and fastest card to earn business class vouchers as Axis bank and Vistara has wonderful integration in place to post the points & vouchers to account faster.
Redemptions are super easy and you can check out my first redemption experience here: Vistara Business Class Review (MAA-DEL)
- Reward Rate: 10%-15%
- Joining Fee: Rs.10,000+GST (You get 1 Biz class voucher)
- Full Review: Axis Bank Vistara Infinite Credit Card Review
2. HDFC Diners Jet
While there are many JetPrivilege Cards in the market, HDFC Diners Cards stands apart from the rest as you can earn tier points too on your regular spends apart from the JPMiles. This means you can get into Platinum status faster without actually flying.
Though, the only downside of this credit card is that its not a Visa or Mastercard but Diners Club itself and the Diners Club acceptance is not 100%. Hence you always need one backup card to be on safer side.
- JPMiles Earn Rate: 5.3%
- Joining Fee: Rs.10,000+GST (First Year Free for Select Accounts)
- Full Review: HDFC Diners Jet Credit Card Review
3. Amex Jet Privilege
The specialty of the card is that, it gives access to the Proprietary American Express Lounge in Delhi & Mumbai. You also get a bit of hotel perks, unlimited domestic lounge access & more. I recently got this card and totally love its design 🙂
- JPMiles Earn Rate: ~5.3%
- Joining Fee: Rs.5,000+GST
- Full Review: Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card
4. ICICI Jet Saphirro
Its again an American Express Credit Card issued by ICICI Bank. I personally use this card for international spends as it gives 7% earn rate, though it has upper cap and so its good for under 10L annual spend only.
It also gives complimentary airport spa access & lucrative Amex offers are targeted for ICICI issued cards every now and then. Its totally worth it.
- JPMiles Earn Rate: 5% (domestic)– 7% (International spends)
- Joining Fee: Rs.5,000+GST (Check bank page for offers)
- Full Review: ICICI Jet Airways Sapphiro Credit Card
5. SBI Air India Signature
No one is actually interested in flying Air India isn’t it? Well, this card gets you access to other Star Alliance Airline partner as well, like Thai Airways & Singapore Airlines, which makes it worth giving a try.
Fortunately, even Air India has decent product as i flew on one of their Dreamliner recently. Check out my first flight on: Air India 787 Dreamliner Business Class
- AI Miles Earn Rate: 5% (easy)– 10%(rare)
- Joining Fee: Rs.4,999+GST
- Full Review: SBI Air India Signature Credit Card Review
6. HDFC Jet World/Signature
Its not really a great card to start with, but its probably the only Jet Airways card that you can get it for free. I personally got this card when they had unlimited domestic lounge access benefit (now reduced to 4/qtr).
Note: Voucher Redemptions on Jet are one of the toughest and you need to plan a month in advance to increase chances.
Miles redemptions are bit tough as well but not so tough if you plan atleast 1 week in advance. Check out my first Jet Airways flight experience here: Jet Airways Domestic Business Class Review
- JPMiles Earn Rate: 4%
- Joining Fee: Rs.2,500+GST (Free for most accounts)
- Full Review: HDFC Bank Jet Privilege World Credit Card Review
Airline credit cards are primarily useful for business class redemptions and are strictly only for the frequent flyers with a specific airline. The business of Airmiles & loyalty program exists because a lot of us don’t actually use them.
I knew a well educated friend of mine who had thousands of JPMiles years back but never used it and now he has few hundreds left.
Other deciding factor is the connectivity, especially with Vistara. There is no point in getting Vistara cards if you don’t have connectivity from your flying city.
Hence, choose the card based on your frequency of travel, spend pattern & connectivity.
If you travel less frequently with multiple airlines, you should rather look for reward points related travel credit cards. Check out best travel credit cards in India for more info.
Which Airline Co-branded credit card do you use and how are you making maximum value out of it? Feel free to share your experiences in comments below.